Donations: When Your Art Room Becomes a Dumping Ground
Every year I can expect a box to appear in my room. The secretary brings it down, and says “I have a gift for you!”
Every year I can expect a box of junk from an “Mysterious Donor” – I have no clue who always brings me this box, but it has the strangest things inside. For example, you might find one paper doily, 3 pipe-cleaners, a piece of construction paper, an old box that note cards were kept in, etc. I teach art, so I must be able to take all trash and make it into treasure, right? Nope. Unless you have 100 paper doilies I can’t use them with my 1st graders. hehehe. I’ll be nice. Occasionally there were some treasures, like a few unopened glue sticks, but my room is so small with no storage, I just simply couldn’t afford having anything extra around.
On the flip side, I had a parent who worked for a paper company and gave me rolls and boxes of good, clean white card stock and colored paper. Now that is a donation I will gladly accept!
It’s hard to say “no” – Schools are constantly complain they are underfunded, so it’s no surprise community members are eager to help out. However, it’s really not practical to allow your room to become cluttered because you take everything that is given to you (just look udner my sink, talk about a dumping ground of things that don’t get used very often- Not cool!)
To combat this issue, I would suggest making an art room wish-list and put it in your school’s newsletter, post it on the door, and put it on your blog. This way, when you get unwanted donations you can simly say “I am sorry but these tiems are not something we are currently in need of in our art room, but thank you. You can refer to this list if you want to donate in the future” or, you can just not feel guilty about throwing it away, or passing it along after you have kindly accepted the donation. Many times parents are kind enough to call and ask first.
(Kind of like the guys on American Pickers, they have a list they give people when they drive up and say “We are looking to buy THESE items” – just to make it clear and give the people some focus. Your colleagues and parents just need some direction and focus when it comes to helping out the art room.
Here are some popular “Art Room Wishlist Ideas” I’ve had great success with:
- Bubble Wrap and Tissue Paper (For wrapping clay pieces with)
- Paper bags (for taking clay home in)
- Paper plates (to dispense paint)
- Old magazines or catalogs (for collage, drawing ideas, dispensing paint, etc)
- Pencils (Companies change their logo and will have tons on hand they can’t give out anymore)
- Unused paper
- Glue/ Glue sticks
- Magic Erasers (for those horrible sharpie infractions on the table)
I also have passed a box of supplies down to a local preschool and they were SO happy to get some of the items I had in surplus. (I asked first, no worries!) As you work toward becoming a “Clutter Free Teacher” sometimes you must be strategic about accepting donations for your art room.
What is the best item and/or strangest item that has been donated to you?
Tell us some other good ideas you could add to your art room wish list…..